Ironies That Can Only Exist In India

India is a land of contradictions. While most of these contradictions arise from societal and economic issues, quite a few of them arise from our hypocritical attitude as well. The problem is that while all of us want these problems to disappear, we still stick to our “chalta hai” attitude and let things be as they are, waiting for someone else to clean up our mess. Ironical isn’t it. These things are even more so.

a. A BLACK CAT passing by the crossroad can stop hundreds of people what a RED LIGHT on traffic signal has failed to do for long time!!
b. Indians are obsessed with screen guards on their smartphones even though most come with scratch proof Gorilla Glass but never bother wearing a helmet while riding their bikes.


Lent 2: Mk 8/31-38

Mark 8:31-38 - Why Must We Carry a Cross?
Mark 8:31-38 - The Big "W"

1. The Connections:

Throughout his Gospel, Mark portrays a Jesus who is continually misunderstood by family and friends.  Today’s Gospel (in the common lectionary) is a case-in-point.  Jesus tells his disciples that his ministry will end in suffering and death in Jerusalem.  Peter takes Jesus aside and admonishes him for speaking such a gruesome message.  Jesus reacts with surprising sharpness to Peter’s rebuke.  The hard reality for Peter and his companions (including us) to accept is that cross is central to Jesus’ Messiahship – and must be a part of every follower’s acceptance of Jesus’ call to discipleship.  To be part of the new life of Christ’s resurrection in the life to come requires dying to our own needs and wants in the present. 

Lent 2 Sunday B - Transfiguration

Sandwiched between baptism and transfiguration is the temptation moment.  Between the two moments of the Father’s assurance that he is beloved to him lies the moment for Satan, the moment to be tested of our faithfulness and of our true mettle. This is the human reality that Jesus undergoes for us. This is the death and resurrection experience in baptism and the rest of our lives. He must leave Nazareth to come to the Jordan. He must leave the verdant banks and the cool waters of Jordan to the arid desert to be alone with the Alone. He must also leave his moments with people - teaching, preaching and healing – to be with his father - to be up on the mountain.

These two moments - desert and mountain top - are our experiences of God:
Sometimes God comes in the ugly, in the tragic. He comes in ways which shake us, cause terror, scathe our souls and crush our hearts. He sometimes comes in ways which leave us angry, hostile, almost on the edge of despair, or on the verge of disbelief.
Sometimes God comes in the beautiful. He comes in ways which impress us, in ways which sweep us off our feet, which fill us with hope and peace. In his beautiful manifestations, God can leave us gasping for breath and gaping in awe.
We all have those transfiguration moments in our lives. We must decide whether those moments will be with drugs, alcohol, internet and women and getting high or with changing our lives and living according to the law and the prophets (Moses and Elijah). What are the moments we call awesome ones in our lives? The father never fails to show us those “beloved” moments, those “aha” times, those glorious moments in our lives. Gandhi, Lincoln, Mandela and Mother Teresa had both the moments in their lives. Arvind Kejriwal, the current chief minister of New Delhi, is the latest example.

Transfiguration is a moment of enlightenment in our lives where we understand better the purpose of trials, suffering, testing and making sacrifices. We enter into prayer with anger in our hearts, we come out in forgiveness; we go to the Lord in confusion, we come out in enlightenment; we go with our struggles and we come away with strength to face them. We go with our doubts and we come back with understanding. How many young people we meet at the confessional who come with shame, fear and embarrassment and go away understood, comforted and empowered to face trails and temptations of life!

Stay with them for a while and come down the mountain to live our lives as ordinary, as simple and as down-to-earth as they can be.

Tony Kayala, c.s.c.

Lent 1 Sunday B - Repent and Believe

1) We reflect today on the deserts to which people have been driven away: psychological, sociological, political and economic deserts:
-by ISIS and Al Qaida creating homeless and stateless refugees
-asylum seekers, job seekers
-divorces, unwed mothers and their children
-gambling and alcoholism
-terminal illness and elderly people
-stock markets, greed and fraud
-abandoned children, reckless teenagers

2) Living among wild beasts:
-hostile environment
-foreign govts. and religious fanatics
-slave traders and harsh employees of domestic helps and daily wage earners

3) However, believing in God's presence and assistance through angels comforting and consoling:
-through Mother Teresa's, Satyarthi's
-NGO's and social workers
-Priests and sisters, Brothers

4) We are simply asked to repent and believe in the Gospel:
- our deserts are a good place or a good opportunity to reflect on our life. It shouldn't be taken as a punishment, but rather as a moment of purification (Indians call it an agnipariksha - test by fire); a time to take stock of our life; a retreat; no other distractions - TV, friends, work - to focus on life's core issues.
- Repent: be sorry for our sins and he will purify and strengthen us
-we need this period (if even Jesus needed it) to pause and look at our life
-our belief is he will remove these current advertise and turn our lives into a joyful celebration. He will come for the one sheep that had strayed away, look for the coin that was lost and wait for that son who had gone away.
--Tony Kayala, c.s.c.

Ash Wednesday - 2015

1.     From Fr. Tony Kadavil’s Collection 


Ash Wednesday (dies cinerum) is the Church’s Yom Kippur or the “Day of Atonement.” Its very name comes from the Jewish practice of doing penance wearing “sackcloth and ashes.” In the early Church, Christians who had committed serious sins were instructed to do public penance wearing sackcloth and ashes. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are days of full fast and abstinence. Fasting is prescribed to reinforce our penitential prayer during the Lenten season. The prophet Joel, in the first reading, insists that we should experience a complete conversion of heart and not simply sorrow for our sins. Saint Paul in the second reading advises us “to become reconciled to God.” Today’s gospel instructs us to assimilate the true spirit of fasting and prayer.  


From Lenten Series Collection - TK
Opening Stories:
1) The Samurai Warrior and the Zen Master

One day, a Samurai warrior went to a Zen master for instruction. "Please," the huge man asked in a thundering voice that was used to instant obedience, "teach me about heaven and hell."
The master scowled at the swordsman, then broke into mocking laughter. "Me, teach you about heaven and hell? I wouldn't waste a moment trying to instruct the brain of an overweight ignoramus like you! How dare you ask me for such a lofty insight?"

6 Sunday B - Healing of the Leper

3 Sundays - 3 healings: One at the Synagogue, second at the home and the third at the market place (outside). These are the locations of our ministries. These are places we do our healings/ministries.

At the synagogue the man with the unclean spirit shouts at Jesus as the "Holy one of God" (first recognition of Jesus in Mark). Peter's mother-in-law makes no declaration but gets up and serves him whereas the leper goes around proclaiming him. He announces abroad. Visible missionary zeal. Again three attitudes of response to healing: out of fear, out of love and out of faith.

In Madison, Alabama, a 57 year old Indian, Sureshbhai Patel, was doing his morning walk two days' ago while visiting his son. Two police officials pull up to him to question him and he says, "No English". They eventually toss him violently to the floor face down, handcuff him and tries to raise him. They damaged his spinal cord in the act. He's partially paralyzed and fighting for his life in a hospital. Our revulsion to dirt, disorder, color, differences cause so much of damage to national pride, human rights, Christian beliefs and simple humanity. Leprosy happens to be one of them. It was that embrace that Francis of Assisi and Cardinal Paul-Emile Leger of Montreal did changed their lives forever. It was that embrace Pope Francis did while washing the foot of a Moslem woman prisoner in Rome last Maundy Thursday that the world sat up and took notice of.

What's that repulsion or aversion or repugnance that still keeps us captive in our prejudices and does not allow us to expand the boundaries of our value and belief systems? Where is the "stretching out" of the hand and "touching" moment in our lives?

Tony Kayla, c.s.c.

5 Sunday B: Mission - Action and Contemplation

Jesus' mission is Church's mission: Preaching, teaching and healing. That's why we have churches, schools and hospitals. These ministries seem to be our primary mission. This might get us busy, tired, stressed and can get us out of our wits. That's when we need that space to recharge our spirits and bodies. That's what the Lord did. However, he doesn't seem to complain when "they" came to "disturb" him out of his "space". For Jesus the "action-contemplation" space was seamlessly woven into his mission-presence space.

-Tony Kayala, c.s.c.